tv State of the Union With John King CNN January 10, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EST
looks, and a lack of negro dialect. they will talk a lot about national security. special guests coming up. i am john king, and this is state"state of the union." president obama takes responsibility for the breakdown. is the administration taking the right steps to fix things, to keep americans safe. we will have an assessment from two senators. john mccain, and the chairman of
the homeland security committee, independent, joe lieberman. the year brings fresh pain to american's seeking work. when will the jobs come back? i will ask one of the president's top advisers, christina romer. and the mountains of wyoming, beautiful views, and hopes the new year means more visitors and an economic rebound. this is the "state of the union" report for sunday, january 10th. we begin this sunday with two key senators and two paramount questions. is al qaeda stronger than we have been led to believed. are we vulnerable to terrorists attacks. two chilling incidents brought these questions to the fore.
as the president promises to improve airport security and information sharing among intelligence agencies, let's get an assessment now of the threat and the administration's response from two senators traveling the frontlines. after stops in iraq, kuwait, afghanistan, pakistan and lebanon, senators john mccain of arizona and joseph lieberman of connecticut join us from their latest stop in israel. it's a perfect time based on your trip to have this conversation. i want to go through your many important stops on this trip, but i want to start first with the biggest question the american people are asking about -- asking themselves after the recent attacks. have we underestimated al qaeda's threat? we are dating back to the bush administration, they were scattered and they were not
capable of mounting a big sustained attack? have they regrouped from what we are doing to find new ways to attack us? >> john, that requires a long answer and i will try to make it short. i think americans are safer since 9/11, but we are not safe. we have a long way to go, but we made significant progress. al qaeda can land almost anywhere. where there is fertile ground, they will breed. now, of course, yemen, where there is a challenge. the afghanistan border argues for success in afghanistan. but i think that we have to continue our emphasis and our focus on the fact that this challenge is not going away anytime soon. >> senator lieberman, to that point you are chairman of the
homeland security committee. we have seen it in the recent weeks, the things al qaeda is trying to do. are we ahead of them, if you will, not only in improving airport security, but improving intelligence gathering, are we ahead of the game? >> we are ahead of the game, but this is a war. there are times when i think because it's such an unconventional war that people in our country may forget it. it's a war with many battle fields. we are on the verge of really an extraordinary turn around and success in iraq. president obama is committed to win the war in afghanistan, and i think we have an extraordinary team there that john and i visited a few days ago. we will succeed in afghanistan. we have chased some of the al qaeda enemy to yemen, but the fact is that in the last year there have been more than a dozen known attempted terrorists
attacks on the homeland of the united states. three of them broke through our defenses. two of them successfully killing people. one in arkansas earlier this year where a u.s. army recruiter was killed at his recruiting station because he was wearing the uniform of the u.s. army, and second, of course, nidal malik hasan, the murderer at ft. hood. and the fourth was only by an act of god was not a disaster, and that's umar farouk abdulmutallab, the detroit bomber. in any war, when the enemy breaks through your lines, have you to regroup and strengthen your defenses. in this war, we cannot get any goal less than 100% success. that means we have to close the gaps. i think some people have to be held accountable for the mistakes, the human errors that the president acknowledged that enabled the nigerian bomber
getting on the plane. >> if somebody -- excuse me for interrupting, but if somebody should be accountable, who? >> i think the investigation would show that. it's clear beginning with the department of state when the father came in, not only shoot game have been sent to the national counterterrorism center, but somebody should have checked the visa list and pulled that terrorists' visa, so he never got on the plane. and something went wrong. that's the place we created after 9/11. it served us very well, but it did not, in this case. so if human errors were made, i think the humans that made those errors have to be disciplined so they never happen again. >> i know have you been traveling, and i am sure you are familiar the president stepped forward and said the buck stops with me, if you are mad i am the president of the united states
and the ultimate responsibility lies with me. there was a shift in tone. let's listen to the president. >> we are at war. we are at war against al qaeda, a far reaching network of violence that reached us on 9/11, and killed an innocent 3,000 people, and they want to strike us again and we will do whatever it takes to defeat them. >> this is my words, not yours, and it's a bit too soft. he has changed some things from the bush administration, some of which you support and some of which you don't support. when you hear the president say that, you know many conservative critics say he doesn't view this as a war. when you hear him say that are you seeing a new tone or substantive policy shifts that make you feel better? >> i appreciate the president's comments and they are important. they are a departure from his
language before. second of all, people should be held responsible for what happened. we cannot go to the washington routine, we are all responsible for therefore nobody is responsible. nobody has to be held responsible. and i don't think the president's action matched his rhetoric when we send this individual to a civilian court. that person should be tried as an enemy combatant and terrorists. if we are at war we should not try that individual in a court other than a military trial. to have a person be able to get lawyered up when we need that information very badly, i think betro betrays or counterdicts the president's view that we are at war. >> they are upset with drone
attacks, some are, and is your sense is pakistan a full partner now or are they still picking and choosing when to fight, which targets to hit? >> pakistan is a full partner in the war on terrorism. i think john and i both felt that we have seen a really significant change in pakistan on this visit. i think they clearly understood that they, the pakistani people, are the targets of terrorism. they have suffered terribly, including, for instance, attacks at mosques, terrorists attacks as mosques, and they are understanding there is not a clear separation between the taliban fighting in afghanistan and in pakistan. there is an overlap. they are good partners. we met with the chief of the army, and the pakistani army is on the move. it pushed the taliban out of the swat province, and it pretty
much cleared south waziristan. there are issues that we disagree on. it's a complicated relationship. but i think fundamentally, pakistan is our ally today in the war on terrorism, and a very critical ally. it's based on the understanding that we have a common enemy. we also have common values, democracy, and a common enemy, and together we will beat it. >> senator mccain, let me get your assessment of the stop in afghanistan. i want to show you something you said three months ago. listen to this. >> corruption in the government is a huge problem, and we have to have -- that's part of the equation, and we have to have the karzai government show us that we -- it is going to truly reform. >> let's start with the karzai government, senator mccain.
while you are there, president karzai is trying another time to get his cabinet approved. if he does not have faith that these people are not corrupt, if we can't get to that simple first step, how can we build institutions or repair roads and put them to work and educate them in afghanistan and build the confidence that trust the central government and not the taliban? >> they have a long way to go in the area of corruption. but the fact the parliament rejected his nominees, i think you can see a democratic process moving forward. president karzai recognizes what he just has been through was an important lesson to him. we have to keep pressing on the corruption issue. let me tell you two other things that concern me. first of all, i think we have the right strategy and the right resources and the right leadership. we went outside kandahar to an operating base where americans and afghan soldiers are
operating together. two things concern me about the statement the president made leaving mid 2011 that president uncertainty. i wish he would reassure the allies and friends that we are there to win. i don't think that there are plans to build the afghan army to the size necessary to take over the responsibilities that we will have to hand over to them. is the karzai government effective yet? i think they have a long way to go, but i know the afghan people do not want the taliban back, and he has that advantage. it will be a tough long slaug, but i am confident we have the recipe for success. >> there are reports of tension back here while you are traveling, some aides thinking the pentagon is not getting troops deployed to afghanistan as fast as they would like to implement. did the commanders on the ground give you any sense of that?
are they behind schedule in the afghan surge? >> i was extremely impressed with not only our leadership, military leadership, but with the men and women that are out there on the lines. this is a gifted, talented resourceful brave group of americans. very idealistic, partnering with a tough group of afghan soldiers. they are doing everything they can as quick as they can. i saw the article and it made me furious, because an article like that does not serve the national security interest. it reveals a disagreement on our side to our enemies and it can only weaken us and unfairly disparages the u.s. military that i know are doing everything that they can as quickly as they can to get reinforcements. the new surge the president
ordered into afghanistan. i would say if the story is wrong, the president should come right out and make that clear. if there are people on the other hand in the white house or the administration who are leaking stories of that kind, they ought to be disciplined, because they have undermined our war effort, and in that sense our national security and our homeland security. it's unacceptable form of behavior. if you have an argument with the military, argue it in house, privately, don't spill it out in the media of our country. that's just unamerican. it's bad for our country. >> john mccain, you want in on that one before we take a quick break? >> no, i agree with joe. general mccrystal has got a huge challenge. he doesn't need this kind of back and forth, but he is confident of victory, and i am confident if we stay the course
we will maintain the support of the american people and we can succeed, mainly because the quality of men and women who are doing the job. >> senator mccain and lieberman, when we come back, is the united states on track to get troops out by the the homeland security front. stay with us. hi, ellen! hi, ellen! hi, ellen! hi, ellen! we're going on a field trip to china! wow. [ chuckles ] when i was a kid, we -- we would just go to the -- the farm. [ cow moos ] [ laughter ] no, seriously, where are you guys going? ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! [ female announcer ] the new classroom. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco. two of nature's sweetest wonders growing together under the same sun. and now for the first time, in new sun crystals ® . the only 100% natural sweetener
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have any concerns it is a political push and is it in sync with the political positions on the ground is another way to put it? >> i am very satisfied. i wish every american knew the month of december was the first month without a single american killed, which is a best indicator of success that we could have. our troops are still working hard. the environment has dramatically changed, and we have won there. the iraqi government will take two steps forward and one step back. it's a messy business, democracy, and we will see problems and challenges and continue to tax, but the ability of al qaeda or the extremists to have a sustained campaign of attacks in iraq is not there any more. the general was confident after the elections, which will hopefully be in march, that would drawdown rapidly. i am very pleased with the
success there. it's still tough, but they have succeeded. >> interesting to hear from each of you, as you have the conversations with the diplomatic people overseas and the other government leaders as you travel, what is their assessment of the regime in iran? senator lieberman, to you first, do you have any sense that the iranian regime is in trouble? >> yes, i think that everybody we spoke to thought that the green movement, the protest of the people of iran are very significant. in some sense, a real sense, it's the beginning of the end of the repressive extremists regime in tehran. the question is when does it end? i think we have to do everything that we can not just to put
economic sanction on iran because of their development of nuclear weapons, but to support the people of iran, to cry out against the refreshen of the demonstrators and the citizens. i think there are two things going on in the region. one is a fear in the government of iran. heightened in some sense by the instability of the people of iran. secondly, the feeling that the days of the regime are numbered, and the sooner it ends the better. >> go ahead, senator. >> thank you. i just wanted to add that i believe that this regime's days are numbered, but in the meantime, one of the dangerous aspects is that if the iranian government chooses to try to divert the attention of the people from their domestic
situation to increasing confrontation with israel is a real threat, and it argues for progress in the palestinian peace talks. >> george mitchell, your former colleague said if he could get the israelis and the palestinians back to the barg n bargaining table, he says he thinks you could do this in two years. do either one of you share the optism, where if you could get them in the room you could get it done in a year or two? >> i do. i do. i think there is a heightened understanding with other tensions in the region, and i just mentioned iran and other situations such as better -- when i say better, more effective capability of hezbollah, and southern lebanon, and other threats. there is a certain urgency to the peace process, and not only
is it possible, but i think it's very likely you could see progress in this area. >> you both talked about some progress and some optism in afghanistan. what about the question of yemen, and i want you to listen to remarks by the security and defense administer, we cannot accept any foreign troops on yem yem yem yem yemen territory. >> this has to be done in coordination with the government and military of yemen. we are doing that. look, it's important to say that president obama has authorized a significant increase in american support for the yemeni military
there. you have to look at three cases in which the homeland defenses were broken through this year, arkansas, ft. hood and the detroit bomber. all three of those have a connection to the al qaeda headquartered in yemen. we have a responsibility, which the commander in chief, president obama, has carried forward not to let al qaeda develop a sanctuary in yemen. >> it's an election year in the united states. happy new year to you as you travel the word. and christopher dodd announced he would not seek re-election. and then there was another that will not seek re-election. there is a gentleman on the screen, mccain, who is on the ballot.
and some are saying john mccain may say it's time to pack it in. but this week senator mccain launched new ads. listen to this. >> president obama is leading an extreme left-wing crew side to bankrupt america. i stand in his way every day. >> you stood by your republican friend during the 2008 financial campaign. do you believe he is leading the way to bankrupt america? >> john mccain and i disagree sometimes, and that's one of the cases. i think the president understands the importance of bringing our government back into balance. he came in in a most difficult economic time, inherenting a national debt that doubled in the preceding eight years. i think you are going to hear from the president in the state of a union maybe earlier about tough medicine for our economy. we need it and i hope there will
be bipartisan support in congress for doing that. as our economy begins to grow again, we are not going to get to real growth until we can assure the rest of the world that we can pay our bills, and right now we are just adding to our debt. >> senator mccain, many consider you the leader of the republican party. and there is a man that caused quite a stir this week. he has been criticized your campaign and president bush and saying he is not sure if the republicans can win and take back the senate in the 2010 elections, and do you have confident in michael steele? >> yes, i do. i worked with the president in a number of areas in afghanistan and others, but the president promised he would stop the wasteful spending. we have increased the debt dramatically. nobody believed general motors
and chrysler would be owned by the federal government. the spending is under control and has not been under control. that's what i am fighting every day. we have laid a debt on our grandchildren that is unconscionable. and behind back room deals without c-span cameras as he promised as gone on. that's what i am fighting, and i will continue to fight it. >> gentlemen, thank you for taking time and for your assessments of what is going on overseas. the first economic report of the new year was sobering to say the least. the economy is still losing jobs. up next, we will ask one of the president's top economic advisers about how they are tackling the debt.
i am john king and this is "state of the union." thousands of people lost electricity after a strong earthquake. a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck yesterday afternoon in eureka, california. minor damage being reported. and president obama accepts harry reid's apology about his xhmt comments about him. those are your top stories here on "state of the union." up next, christina romer to talk about the latest unemployment numbers and when we can expect the jobs to come back. when you feel good, people ask, what's your secret?"
to discuss the economy is christina romer. welcome back. you had the december jobs report which was sobering in some regards. the question is when is the economy going to bounce back? if you go back to the recession in 2007, the unemployment rate was 5%, and there were 7.7 million americans unemployed. and now everything has doubled. 10% unemployment and 15.3 unemployed. where we will be at the end of the year? >> we have to talk about the december jobs report, it was a disappointment and a set back from november, where we added 4,000 jobs in that month. so that certainly is something to keep in mind. what you do know, though, is we
are continuing the pattern of moderating job loss. i will give you one statistic. in the first quarter of 2009, we were losing 690,000 jobs a month, and now we are losing 69,000. it's way too many, but one-tenth of when we came into office. when does it turn positive? we have been saying by spring. and your point of when does the unemployment start coming down? that's determined by how fast we go. an important fact is gdp not only needs to grow, but it needs to grow at a normal rate. 2.5%. >> let's get up and go to the wall for a minute. i want to take a closer look at the numbers you talked about. the state of michigan has high unemployment. here is the job losses you
talked about. at the beginning of the year we were up around 700,000 a month. now as you look at more stimulus money being spent in the new year, will that help bring the rate down and keep the job growth numbers up and keep this in the positive? >> there are target actions we can take at this point in the cover rethat we think can help to jump-start the job creations, like incentives for small businesses to hire. firms are starting to dip their toe into hiring. >> they are not confident enough to give anybody a full time job? >> well, yeah, they could say i would hire permanently next year, and maybe with incentive i
will do it this year. >> you have unemployment which is the orange line, and under employment which is the yellow line, people that love to work full time but can only find a part time job. when the economy starts to grow back and they come into the workforce, and they stopped looking to come into the workforce and there are hundreds of thousands of them, is the likely even if the economy grows at 3%, the rate may go up as people look for jobs? >> it's precisely because of things like the labor force. if we start to grow again robustly, when we start to add jobs, one of the first things is people have a sense of hope and some of the discouraged workers can come back in. we tonight focus on the unemployment numbers, and we will watch the labor force numbers. people coming back into the
labor force is not a bad thing. that's good for the economy. it's something that can push the unemployment rate up. >> do you have any hesitation -- i understand your caution about picking a number, but do you have any hesitation in november, the unemployment rate will be lower than it is now? >> i don't want to make a prediction just because there is so much uncertainty. what i know is that we are seeing study progress, and i absolutely expect that progress to continue through next year. i hope it accelerates. >> i want to bring up another item on which the american people are feeling a crunch. they are uncertain about the job market. and energy prices also on the rise. home heating oil costs up a bit from this time last year, and prices at the pump, when people are driving to work or to look for a job, up nearly a dollar a gal from this time last year. is that the market as you would
expect? >> i think it's largely the market one would expect. i think the main thing that this is getting at, and i think it's good that you bring it up, there are so many ways that ordinary families are really suffering through the recession. we tend to focus on the unemployment rates you talked about, but there are just lots of -- they have seen their pensions funds get decimated by the stock market, and their housing values, they suffered tremendously. that's always been sort of on the forefront of the president's mind, and not only do we immediate to rescue the economy from the immediate crisis, but to say go back, you know, over the last ten years, middle class families have seen their standards of living stag nate. what are the other reforms we need to do to make them grow again? >> the middle class families paying higher energy prices or are uncertain about the job market, not always fair. in the next week, it's what they call bank bonus season. and the banks will begin to give
their bonusebonuses. they blame the political leadership when they see that on wall street. we will see seven digit and maybe even eight-digit bonuses. is there something going on in the white house as they prepare to make these announcements? >> it seems really ridiculous. we had to take extraordinary actions to rescue the financial system. we always did it because that's what had to be done for the american people. nobody had to bail out the banks for the bank's sake. we know credit is the life blood of murn economy, and without it families cannot get loans to buy cars, and small businesses cannot get loans. we know the financial sector matters. at the same time, we have had to take the extraordinary actions, and you would certainly think the financial institutions that are now doing a little bit
better would have some sense. this big bonus season, of course, it's going to offend the american people. it offends me. >> and the president is a week away from hitting the one year mark, and one thing he hopes to get early on in year two is a health care bill. he is negotiating between the senate and the house. the medicare ak chau wary is looking at the bill as it now stands. a report says it would grow health care expenditures, and it says that it believes unrealistic things to obtain. is the president comfortable with the cost curve? is it bent enough as it now stands or in negotiating a final compromise, do you need to bend it more? >> certainly the medicare is a
group that looks at it, and the council of economic advisers has done a lot of work looking at what the cbo is projecting, and we feel confident based on their numbers and on the joint taxation, the senate version of the bill would generally slow the growth of the cost about 1% near year, which may sound small but it's enormous. i think the important thing is, the president made this a priority. >> the administration is committed. the new budget is coming up in a few weeks, they say they will try to do more to tackle the spending problem. the administration believed spending was necessary, and running up nor deficit was necessary, and now as you shift to try to control the deficit as well as to keep the economy going again, tough choices. you have to decide what to cut
and squeeze, and find new revenues. this is barack obama september, 2008. >> i can make a firm pledge under my plan no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase, not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes. >> does that stand as we head into your year two of the bauob administration, does that promise still stand? >> yes. let me talk, though, about the bigger issue, to the degree of the deficit. in 2010, that's going to be something very much the president is focusing on and talking about. it's important to understand we are also talking about actions
taken right now, targeted actions to jump-start job creation. there is no conflict between those. anybody will tell you that you don't get your budget deficit under control at a 10% unemployment rate. we have to get people back to work, obviously for their sake and the budget deficit. >> does the disappointing december jobs report make that more important and deficit reduction less important than if i had this conversation with you four or six weeks ago? >> i think it's always been important. it was 10% in november and in december. we have to do something. there are more targeted actions that we think will absolutely help. what the president will talk about is getting our fiscal house in order over the longer run. we are engaged in the longest piece of that, because health care reform is the number one thing that you have to do to get your long run budget deficit under control. >> let me ask you in closing,
there are academic definitions about what is the end of a recession, and political definitions. you seem to have a bit of difference of opinion with larry summers. >> today everybody agrees that the recession is over. the questions are around how fast we'll recover. >> the president always said and what i firmly believe is you are not recovered until all the people that want to work are back to work. >> in your mind, the recession is not over? >> of course not. >> who carried the day. >> you did not show the clip before the academic opinion would be the end of a recession is when you turn the corner, and
that's what larry said. and for ordinary americans, 10% unemployment, of course it's not over in a fundamental sense. we agreed completely, just different ways of expressing it. >> thank you for your time today, and we wish you luck in the year ahead. and our 50th state, amid all the breathtaking beauty, the recurring question of the coast-to-coast travels this year, is the economy finally ready to rebound? [ male announcer ] welcome to the now network, population 49 million. right now 1.2 million people are on sprint mobile broadband. 31 are streaming a sales conference from the road. 154 are tracking shipments on a train. 33 are iming on a ferry. and 1300 are secretly checking email on vacation. that's happening now.
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this is a very special sunday here on state of the union. we've met our goal of visiting all 50 states in the first year of the obama presidency, which also happens to be the first year of "state of the union." number 50 for us was beautiful wyoming. perhaps best known for its beautiful parks. it is a state whose beauty is big business and in tough economic times, the tourism industry is one of the most accurate barometers of consumer spending. in 2009 because of the recession, july 4th travel was down 2%. labor day travel was down 13%. national park visits go up a bit. why? they're cheaper, less expensive.
so in or american dispatch this week, we hit the slopes at jackson hole. and around a few snowboard runs we heard some cautious optimism that this new year will bring bigger crowds, new spending, and perhaps the seeds of recovery. >> reporter: the grand teton peak reaches nearly 14,000 feet. this above the clouds view, part of jackson hole's wonder and it's leading industry. beauty is big business here, and wyoming a case study in how a bad economy impacts travel and tourism. with family budgets tight, 2009 saw regard visitations to inexpensive national parks like grand teton and yellowstone. and lots of open space on the more expensive slopes at places like the jackson hole mountain
resort. >> how are you guys doing today? >> reporter: where nick has worked for two winters now. >> snowing and it's -- i love to be outside and have this be my office with the views i get and the benefits i get. it's great. have a good run, sir. >> reporter: an up close look now at whether 2010 will bring more people and a recovery for a guy who had an all too close view of the economy's crash. >> i used to work in finance in new york city. i lost that job. i was in global wealth management and operations. i was seeing a lot of terminations and liquidations come flowing in, people just did not trust their money in stocks anymore. >> reporter: this job, a vastly different pay scale, but also a very different perspective. >> it's pretty fun today, huh? in this world i'm not able to save any money, living paycheck by paycheck compared to when i was working in finance in new york city, it was much nicer. i was making more money.
i was able to put some away. however, my lifestyle over there was a lot more stressful than it is here. >> reporter: his move from wall street to the lift line is in itself a sign of the times. >> all right. have a good time. >> we didn't grow as quickly as we'd like. >> reporter: in years past president jerry bland often had to seek temporary visas for foreign workers, but not year. >> we're staying 100% domestic. that fall we had 500 people show up for 200 jobs. the quality and the educational capability of the people who came in the door was extraordinary. >> thank you. >> reporter: the recession hit in the middle of a $100 million improvement project forcing bland to deal with not only fewer visitors but the credit crunch he says continues to hamper businesses. >> we had to do a refinance, and we were able to put it together. it was a tough negotiation, took a long time. it's not back to where it should be, and we've got -- we've got
to loosen the reins a lot more. >> reporter: but, still, he's optimistic the slopes will be more crowded in the new year but only if the travel and tourism industry heeds recession lessons. >> everybody is looking for that value proposition and that's just natural. they're asking for deals and getting them. >> reporter: if you didn't do that, if you were stubborn and said this is our profit margin, what happens? >> obviously you're going to lose some volume and volume for us is key. >> reporter: snowboard run during a recent visit found only modest crowds. christmas week business was up from last year and bookings for the rest of january and february have resort officials optimistic. >> i think people have been conservative, have been holding their pocketbooks for a while. i think they're ready to jump out. >> our thanks to everyone at beautiful jackson hole and to everyone we have met in the course of our 50 state tour. we'll spend a little more time next sunday discussing
everything we have learned. if you're curious check out cnn.com/stateoftheunion. you can see the people we've met when we traveled to your state. want to say good-bye to our international audience. for our viewers in the united states, howard kurtz is standing by with his reliable sources. l . with 100% of the daily value of 11 essential vitamins and minerals and the luscious taste of plump, juicy raisins and crunchy whole grain flakes. ... ... guess it's all about what kind of crunch you like. how are you getting 100%? visit totalcereal.com and get a coupon.